Buying Hibiscus Tea (Roselle Tea) Or Bulk Hibiscus Flowers Online
Hibiscus tea is a popular caffeine-free herbal tea made from the sepals of the Hibiscus sabdariffa plant, also called the "roselle". For this reason, this drink is sometimes also called roselle tea. Hibiscus tea has a long history of consumption in a variety of countries and cultures, but especially in hot, tropical areas, such as the middle east and central America, where the roselle plant grows easily.
This article gives advice about buying hibiscus online, explaining both where to obtain hibiscus flowers for use in herbal tea, and how to decide which company to buy from and which specific item to buy.
Because it is an herb used in herbal teas, hibiscus can be purchased both from herb and spice companies, and from tea companies which also carry a few herbal teas in their offerings. There is no general rule about which of these companies tend to be a better place to buy hibiscus. However, herb companies often tend to offer better prices on buying the bulk herb, and are more likely to offer the herb in different grades. Most tea companies, on the other hand, only carry one pure hibiscus tea, and primarily sell the herb in other blends which may either include hibiscus as the primary ingredient, or more often, one ingredient among many.
Whole flowers, cut and sifted (c-s), and powdered:
Hibiscus tea is sold in three different ways: as whole flowers, as pieces of flowers (usually described as "cut and sifted" and denoted c-s or c/s), and as powder. As with whole-leaf herbs and loose-leaf tea, hibiscus retains its flavor better when in whole flower form.
The whole flowers tend to be the most expensive, and are slower to infuse, but they have some advantages and often have superior flavor. The cut and sifted hibiscus infuses faster, but it also loses its flavor more quickly during storage. The powdered hibiscus goes even farther in this direction, infusing very quickly, but staying fresh even less long than the cut and sifted type.
Country of origin of hibiscus:
Hibiscus for use in hibiscus tea is grown in a number of different countries, but by far the most common of these is Egypt. Other countries with commercially-available hibiscus include Nigeria and Sudan. Many tea companies and herb companies do not specify the country of origin of their hibiscus or of other herbs. As a general rule, it is best to buy herbs from companies that clearly identify the country of origin, and hibiscus is no exception.
Alex Zorach is the founder and editor-in-chief of RateTea, an online community for rating and reviewing teas and herbal teas. RateTea has a category for each type of herbal tea, and lists sources and reviews of each herb. Visit RateTea's page on hibiscus tea to find where to buy hibiscus.